Editor’s note: The members of the Career Support Group (CSG) for STEM PhDs might have fond remembrance of their teen years when it became nerve-wracking to make that choice. I am not referring about the choice of who-to-date but the choice of taking up Science, Commerce or Arts as majors to move-up the livelihood ladder. In the Sunday Blog from ClubSciWri, Sayantan Chakraborty brings out the ways where the lights should not go out on the aspirations of a starry-eyed biology undergrad. “To Bio or not to Bio” is one of the blogs that you might like to share with your friends who are helping their kids take decisions for their future careers after a biology major. Surely, the kids are way smarter so Sayantan does mention that “Read, learn, and update yourself with the upcoming careers paths and how to mold your present to shape the future” and we are sure they will figure out how to beat the robots in creating a new Earth on Mars. Are you listening Elon Musk?- Abhinav Dey
“Our neighbor’s child is now going to study MBBS after his class 12th. You should learn something from them.” This is a common dialogue in India. Every student in high school who studied biology gets to hear it – either from his/her parents or someone else. Although this can be said in many forms, it’s almost unavoidable, and parents tend to lose sleep pondering about their child’s career. In some cases, as soon as we are born, parents tend to decide our profession, most notably – engineering or medicine.
Given the significant population growth in India over the years, the sheer number of students has dramatically increased the competition amongst them. Competition is inevitable whether in life or in profession or in nature. But, it is not surprising to learn that students tend to follow the herd. A lot of them start preparing for their medical entrance examinations while some enroll for Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) courses (specializing in Zoology/Botany or any applied fields of biology). Those who can’t make it through the entrance exams, subsequently enroll for similar B.Sc. courses. Some of the curious and the enthusiastic minds move on to pursue a Ph.D. with a sheer will to become a Professor or a scientist in the future. Some make it, but the others move on to alternate careers. Becoming a professor or a scientist is a tedious and nerve-wracking journey and only those who tread this path would tell its tales. However, given the tight situation of academic positions, a number of PhDs switch to alternate careers even though the passion of being a scientist burns within them. Some transition out of academia in time, while others remain oblivious of alternate careers and their scope. Why is that? There are and could be many answers, but one of them is critical – the lack of proper guidance.
We, as school goers are never informed about the variety of prospects that we can explore apart from medicine or biological sciences post class 12th. Not every student is of the same intellectual level and although no one should ever under estimate themselves and stop dreaming big, they shouldn’t be kept in the dark about other career prospects. It’s better to prepare and work towards more options. Mentioned below are various career choices that a student who’s studying biology (along with other subject combinations) can prepare and decide for. As you might notice, these courses are different from the traditional biological courses (Zoology, Botany, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Genetics etc.).
- Fashion Technology/Design
- Journalism and Mass communication
- Web development/animations/graphics/multimedia
- Event management
- Air hostess/pilot/aviation training
- Management education
- Bachelor of Audiology Speech Language Pathology.
- Forensic science
- Food Technology
- Sports science
- Speech therapy
- Hospital management
- Commerce streams (Chartered accountancy)
- Armed forces
- Civil services
While choosing a course of study, it’s very important to follow your passion and interests. Do NOT follow the herd! It’s recommended to take advice from well-wishers and peers alike, however, never let those advice dictate your path. Read, learn, and update yourself with the upcoming careers paths and how to mold your present to shape the future. Lastly, remember, nothing worth having comes easy.
The following websites were referred for this post:
About the author:
I am an IRTA postdoctoral visiting fellow at the National Institute on Aging – National Institutes of Health, Baltimore. Apart from science, I invest my time in networking, organizing events, and consolidating efforts to build a platform for guiding school students to their suitable career choice.
Featured image source: Pixabay
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